When I was still into literature, I was taught that the great topics the Renaissance and the Baroque inherited from the Classical tradition were “Ubi sunt”, “Memento mori”, “Carpe diem”, “Beatus ille”, and “Tempus fugit”.
Being a lot simpler, I reached the conclusion that world literature stems from two driving forces, i.e. love and death, that the sacred duty of authors is to tell us a well-known tale in a different fashion. Obviously, in my view authors do not innovate in topics but in their treatment.
I admit it is a very medieval concept of originality, that once the Bible was written, all stories had been told, that the only thing authors can do is to take care of the wrappings and trappings of a story.
I recently saw “Tristan and Isolde”, and I didn’t like it that much, it was slow and the actor seemed like an Egyptian sculpture: not much going with his expression. On the other hand, I also saw “Keeping Mum” and it surprised me, it made me laugh and it amused me. It was just that, love and death beautifully wrapped in black humor.